Do DJs Sing? EDM Producers Who Use Their Own Vocals
Many of our favorite EDM producers make it a point to seek out the very best vocalists to sing on their tracks. Finding not just quality vocals, but a voice that matches the mood of a song is easier said than done. And what’s even rarer in the production of EDM is finding producers who take to the mic themselves. No doubt you’ve heard many of these producers’ platinum tracks, but did you know they are also the ones singing the vocals to some of their most popular hits? Take a look at EDM producers belting it out!
1. Calvin Harris
Claiming two years ago to have “given up singing” the leads on his own tracks for good, superstar producer Calvin Harris proves himself wrong with this year’s hit single “Summer”. Did you know Calvin’s very own voice narrates this track? Just when you thought you couldn’t fall in love with Calvin anymore, the Scottish musical savant stays on center stage. Deemed the highest paid DJ of 2013, bringing home a whopping $46 million, Calvin shows he has earned the dough.
Many of the hits that brought Harris fame feature the renowned vocals of Rihanna, Kelis, Ellie Goulding and Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine. The fact that tracks with his own vocals soar to the top of the charts alongside these professional singers puts him at the top for EDM producers. What other songs does Calvin sing himself? “Acceptable in the 80s” and “The Girls” from his album ‘I Created Disco’, as well as “Iron” produced with Nicky Romero. And let’s not forget this awesome throwback we all got close to:
Ryan Raddon, better known to the EDM world as the beloved Kaskade, not only puts together the sensual melodies and soul-throbbing beats behind his tracks, he also finishes them off with the sound of his own amazing voice. Kaskade admits between takes filming the music video for “Atmosphere” how deeply personal his music is to him. For Kaskade, he says sometimes the track is “so personal I should just sing it myself”. The single “Atmosphere” off the album also titled ‘Atmosphere’ is one of those tracks that Raddon intended to focus more on his own art than collaborating with others.
Although Kaskade makes no plans to launch an international singing career, he explains what it means to be so moved by a song so close to heart to his heart. “It’s not necessarily about being a singer – it’s more about just catching the idea of the song. I’m not gonna go on American Idol or anything like that. But for me the time was right, and it was the right song for me to sing.”
Creating the beat and vocals of the song paid off too, earning Kaskade a Grammy nomination for his artistry. Kaskade, we applaud you and critics agree. Please keep up the vocals!
3. Kyau & Albert
The heart-warming trance duo from Germany, Ralph Kyau and Steven Moebius Albert have risen to fame with their roof-pounding sound and DJ finesse. On top of producing dance beats for over 15 years, Steven sings many of the duo’s songs himself. Releasing the album ’15 Years’ back in March of 2012 to commemorate their music career, Steven’s voice mixes the melody of the music with the story of his lost loves and friendship. Steven even admits in a previous interview with OTB that when the feeling is right, he sings live at shows. What an artist!
Steven won’t lie though, a little tweaking in the studio is what really puts the magic in his voice. In the music video for “On The Way”, Steven’s voice turns into the inhumanly electronic voice fans of earlier techno are used to. But if you’re lucky, you can catch Steven singing live – and not like a robot. Thankfully, we have his voice caught on video below.
Originally Kyau vs. Albert, it’s no wonder after you watch the bromance in this video that the duo threw out the “vs.” for “&”. Does Steven’s voice capture the love…or is it Ralph sharing his beer?
4. Daft Punk
You might not be surprised by this next duo on the list. Not only dressing their bodies in robot get ups, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo dress up their voices as well. Infusing pulsing techno beats with robotic voices, Thomas actually contributes most of these other-worldly vocals to their tracks. Perhaps not the most melodic singers of all time, but with five discographies and just a few Grammys to boot later, this duo can do more than just push buttons. Did Arcade Fire know about this before their mock performance at Coachella 2014?
You can hear Thomas’s voice in Daft Punk’s tracks “Teachers”, “Musique”, “Chord Memory”, “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, “Digital Love” and “Daftendirekt”, as well as the entire ‘Human After All’ album. Hey, robots really are more human after all!
Let’s not forget the ever-famous “Around the World” too, featuring Thomas:
The cake-loving Israeli producer Asaf Borger, known as Borgore, is also responsible for his own vocals. Starting out as a drummer in a band with much darker music, Borgore has lightened up his musical style (but not his bass) with his self-proclaimed “gorestep” interpretation of dubstep and is headed towards more trap and house sounding productions.
Experimenting with his own vocal talent, Borgore began rapping and in 2012 collaborated with Miley Cyrus on the hit “Decisions”. An anthem for lust, Borgore expresses (blatant) sexual desire through the more personal medium of his voice, sometimes recruiting the help of Waka Flaka Flame‘s vocals on his EP ‘Wild Out’. OK, so it’s not really singing, but for once, let’s give Borgore the WHOLE cake:
We can finally answer that age old question: do DJs sing?
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